You are bringing your border collie pup home for the first time.
You know that the newest member of the family is going to miss its mother and its puppy siblings. When you shut the door and leave it for the night, you know it is going to whimper and howl. What can you do to make it better?
Unless you want to have your dog sleeping on your bed on a regular basis, it is not a good idea to take it into your bedroom with you.
Border collies are a highly intelligent breed of dog. Some say they are the most intelligent of all.
But they are still dogs, and need to shown that you are the new pack leader. Even as little puppies,
Start as you mean to go on. You have to be firm from the word go. This means ignoring its cries, that first night.
Otherwise you are teaching the dog that all it has to do is cry or howl, and you will be there, offering it comfort and perhaps food treats.
Just like with children, it is really important to always treat it the same way, and not chop and change your mind.
What can you do to make your pup more comfortable that first night home?
dog food bowl
A dog bed at Amazon
Preparing for your new puppy
You should have already purchased a water bowl, a food bowl and some puppy food. What else do you need?
A collar and lead is unnecessary at this point, as you will not be taking your puppy out for walks.
Puppies can go into your yard providing no other dog goes there.
Until he has completed the vaccine course your vet recommends, your puppy should not be allowed outside onto ground other dogs frequent.
A dog bed, basket or crate
Many people advise the purchase of a dog crate, those animal cages of the type used when transporting a dog by aircraft.
As they are expensive, it is best to buy one big enough to fit your puppy when an adult.
The advantage of a crate is that your puppy is in a secure environment, where it will be unable to make a mess of your floorings, nor to chew any of your belongings.
Crates can be moved from room to room, so that your puppy does not feel lonely.
A dog bed or basket may be purchased instead, but either buy a cheap one, or one that cannot be chewed.
Bedding made from soft fabrics are fair game to the sharp baby teeth of a growing puppy. Do not expect it to last.
Farm-reared Border Collie?
Border Collies are traditionally working farm dogs.
If you purchase your border collie pup from a farm, please be aware that it will not be used to either the heat of a centrally-heated home, nor know what to do with a dog bed.
The best place for a farm reared dog to sleep is in the coolest room of the house, at least until he adjusts to the heat.
You may not think of your house as being particularly warm, but it is compared to the open barn your puppy was likely raised in.
While it is a good idea to take a strip of the cloth the pup used as bedding when with its mother, for comfort, farm-reared dogs are not offered such luxury.
They are used to sleeping on hay or the bare stone flagstones.
Your pup is fluffy and his coat is warm. He does not need a dog bed or blanket.
I made the mistake of buying a dog bed for Keil, our border collie pup, but he chose to sleep on the floor instead.
Preparing for puppy's first night at home
Choose the room you are going to allow your dog free movement in.
Removed everything that is chewable away from floor level, except any dog things you may have purchased, like his food bowls or bedding.
Spread old newspapers on the floor.
This is help protect the floor covering.
At bed-time, make sure your new puppy has enough water in his bowl for overnight and that everything he can damage is out of reach.
Preparing for toilet training
Your puppy is not incontinent, but does not yet know where to do his business.
That first day, show him the yard and the places he may go potty in. Don't expect miracles.
I walked Keil round the area two or three times that first day, and praised him if he did anything.
By the second day, when he was taken outside, he headed straight for the areas he had been taken to the previous day.
After that first night in his new home, you will be aware of where your pup has 'gone potty'. It is pot-luck if he used the newspaper you so carefully laid down the night before.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and so tend to keep returning to the same area.
For the second night, make sure you have this area well-covered with old newspaper.
Praise him if he uses the newspaper through the day, and clear away any mess he makes right away.
Say nothing at all if he does it in the wrong place. Just quietly clear up the mess and accept that this is part of the responsibility of dog ownership.
Border Collies respond well to human contact
Working farm dogs are used to human contact. They are the farmer's eyes and ears when tending sheep, herding cattle, rounding up chickens and a multitude of things that happen on farms.
Farmers know how to handle border collies to get the best out of them.
This involves being firm with the dog, as well as praising often. Border collies are desperate for attention, and do not need treats to make them do things.
It is in their nature to want to help, and they love nothing better than being petted and spoken to in a friendly manner.
Your new border collie pup will respond well to a firm hand and praise.
Never, ever hit a border collie (or any dog for that matter). They do not learn anything useful from this treatment, and it can instil aggression.
While normally placid, I have met a few aggressive border collies in my time, so the greatest care must be taken.
In my experience, border collies are easy to train and quick to learn.
That learning experience should start right from its first night home.
Mike Harold from LA on April 20, 2020:
Lovely breed, and i really admire your efforts :)
AJ from Australia on March 25, 2015:
Border Collies are certainly beautiful and intelligent dogs. I am sure your training was successful and you now have a loyal companion.
Isabel Melville (author) from Planet Earth on July 03, 2013:
Yes, my last border collie did that (herd the young ones). I want this one to learn to herd wandering old people! He's still less than 9 weeks old and is responding well to commands already. Am well pleased with him!
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 30, 2013:
Sounds like great advice to me. Good luck with your new pup. I had a friend that had one, and they herd so well, if you have a toddler they will keep him/her safe.
Isabel Melville (author) from Planet Earth on June 29, 2013:
I've ordered a crate. He has made going into the kitchen in the morning a little bit of a nightmare! Still, he will grow out of it but until then, I think he needs some form of enclosure.
SomewayOuttaHere on June 28, 2013:
....welcome to your new home little one....